True or False: You have to workout hard in order to get in shape and be healthy.

 Answer: False! Just the opposite is true. Most people need to get in shape and be healthier before they can workout hard!

 Exercise is a very important part of getting healthy and staying in shape, but like a drug, it has to be the right type in the right amount at the right time. Like any food, drug, or supplement, exercise creates a physical and chemical response in the body- for better and/or worse.

 All too often, in our busy lives, we think “I need to get my workout in,” and hit the gym. We don’t consider many factors that may make that workout beneficial or harmful. Exercise is a stress to your body. It’s interpreted as stress by the brain. We don’t get improvements in health from the exercise itself. The brain recognizes the stress and adapts by making the body stronger and more resilient in order to handle that stress better the next time it is placed on the body. That’s how we get stronger, bigger muscles, more aerobic capacity, etc- the brain recognizes the “threat” and makes us better and more prepared for the next time.

 There are multiple stresses in life- pain, work, food (or lack of), poor sleep, air quality, etc. Our brain will only adapt to so much stress at one time before it starts to go in the opposite direction and shut down to protect what’s most vital. So the amount, intensity, and type of “workout” you have today depends on all of these factors and more.

  3 Easy Strategies for Maximizing Your Workouts.

1. Fuel.  Your body needs fuel in order to do what you’re trying to do.  If it’s not fueled, it will create its own by using the stress hormones Cortisol and Adrenaline to mine your own protein (muscles!) and turn them into fuel.  Thus, defeating the purpose of your workout! (And, the leftover fuel from that process gets turned into and stored as belly fat.  Double whammy!)   Make sure you’ve eaten a meal at least within 2-3 hours of your session.  A snack consisting of some sugar and protein (fruit and cheese/milk  is great!) will fuel you the best.

2. Exercise in Pain, there will be No Gain!  The only thing you gain by working out in pain is more pain.  Unless you have an immediate athletic goal (competition, deadline, etc.) you should never push through pain. If you’re interested in lifelong health and athleticism, continuing to move and load painful movements will only slow that process down. You’ll get a much better long term result by improving the quality of your movement and decreasing your pain levels than pushing through the pain in order to get the workout in.
3.  Sleep!  This is often one of the least considered factors in training.  Sleep is actually when your brain does most of it’s learning, “downloading,” and adapting from the day’s activities.  Giving it enough time to do that well is important, along with giving your body the quiet time it needs to restore.  7-9 hours of sleep on average is required for best result (obviously this varies from person to person). 

Bonus: 3 Tips for Better Sleep:  

1.  Keep the lights on until it’s time to sleep.  Darkness increases adrenaline and other stress hormones, making it difficult to fall into a deep sleep, and often waking at 1:00-2:00 AM.


2.  Make the room as dark as possible when it’s time to sleep and remove any unnecessary electronics from your room.  Any light (even from electronics) will alter the quality of your sleep. Make sure there are minimal electronic devices in your room,and cover or turn off as many of those with lights as possible.


3.  Late night snack:  Ice Cream!  Yes, your trainers recommending ice cream as a snack to help you sleep.  1 Serving of quality ice cream (Haagen Daaz Five and Strauss Dairy have the “approved” ingredients for health and the desired effects) 1-2 hours before bed will give your body the right mix of sugar, fat, and protein to maintain a sufficient amount of fuel through the night to ward off adrenaline, cortisol, seratonin, and estrogen- the stress hormones that amp up your energy and wake you up during the night.  
**Note:  these calories still count towards your daily calorie intake, so you may need to make a trade somewhere in the day if you want to eat ice cream at night!**
Do we want you to workout and workout hard?  Absolutely!  But, our larger priority is your results.  If working out hard is going to hinder your results, we’re not going to do it that day.  At Fitness Evolved, we’re not about writing great workouts (which we think we’re pretty good at :)), we’re about giving you the tools to optimize your body every day in order to continually improve your health, fitness, and quality of life.  Treat your exercise and workout like a “health supplement”- you need it in the right dose, the right intensity, at the right time for the best results.

 

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